Fully Focused James Webb Space Telescope Beats Expectations Written 17 March 2022


James Webb Space Telescope. | Credit: Desiree Stover; NASA; Aerospace America

BBC News reports that NASA released the first properly focused image from the James Webb Space Telescope. NASA engineer Lee Feinberg said they have now managed to fully focus the observatory on a test star, and the pin-sharp performance is even better than expected. However, NASA cautioned that a lot of work still remains before the telescope can be declared operational. The star used for the test image is “a generic, anonymous star” with the right level of brightness. ESA Science & Exploration Senior Advisor Mark McCaughrean said the “spike” structures were a function of the design of the James Webb Space Telescope’s primary mirror. He said the shape of the 18 hexagons imprints a faint diffraction pattern that makes bright stars look like “spiky snowflakes,” giving images of the observatory a very distinctive look.
Full Story (BBC News)